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Israeli soldiers kill young Palestinian near West Bank settlement

Man shot dead after allegedly attempting to use 'a stick with three knives' to attack officers near a West Bank settlement
The Israeli settlement of Efrata, on the southern outskirts of Bethlehem, with a sign on the Rd60 highway indicating the route to the settlement block of Gush Etzion, in the occupied West Bank, on 27 June 2020 (AFP)

Israeli soldiers shot dead a young Palestinian man near an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, claiming he attempted to carry out a stabbing attack.

According to the Palestinian health ministry, the young man, who has not yet been identified, died after soldiers opened fire towards him near the Gush Etzion  settlement south of Bethlehem. 

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Local media, citing eyewitnesses, reported that the young man was left to die and was prevented from receiving emergency aid following the incident. 

Meanwhile, the Israeli army issued a statement saying that an initial report showed that a stabbing operation was attempted at the Gush Etzion junction, and that further details are being investigated.

"A young man armed with three knives attached to a stick attempted to stab soldiers who had been working in the Gush junction, where a soldier responded by shooting and wounding the young man, without any casualties among our forces," the statement added.

Last week, Palestinian teenager Attallah Mohammad Rayyan was shot dead by Israeli soldier Lian Harush, who was guarding the Gitit Avishar junction near an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, when Rayyan allegedly approached soldiers with a knife. 

The incident was condemned by Defence for Children International - Palestine (DCIP), an independent watchdog set up to monitor Israeli human rights violations against Palestinian children. The organisation said the Israeli soldiers were wrong to use deadly force against the teenager. 

Numerous Palestinians have been shot and killed in recent years at checkpoints in occupied territories allegedly to prevent attacks against Israeli soldiers.  

In June last year, the killing of an unarmed special-needs Palestinian, 32-year-old Eyad al-Halak, by Israeli police in Jerusalem sparked uproar.

After months of legal proceedings, the Israeli Justice Ministry said that Halak "posed no danger to police and civilians in the area" when he was killed, and that the officer who shot him did so against orders.

Palestinians have long accused Israel of carrying out superficial investigations into crimes committed by Israeli forces or settlers against Palestinians. Israelis are rarely tried for killing Palestinians, and if found guilty, typically receive lenient sentences.